Monday, January 21, 2013

Review::She By Henry Rider Haggard

She By Henry Rider Haggard.

I suppose were I a scholar of those languages the formatting might be a problem.

This is a great book and a great classic and I suppose if I understood even a shred of Egyptian, Greek or Latin then I might be just as incensed as some others about the butchery of those parts of the book.

As it is I thoroughly enjoyed the story and hope that there are not any plot points that are of great import in all that hashed up gobble-de-gook.

I read She because I had read Atlantida by Pierre Benoit which someone had said was a major rip from She.

So to begin I would like to say that Atlantida doesn't come anywhere close to being the intense classic that She is and to make such a claim actually denigrates the work of Henry Ride Haggard. Whatever Atlantida as it is considerably different and so much less in content that any notion that its a copy deserves only a shrug.

She,Ayesha, is liken to an old Trope in history and mythology and literature. Amongst Aphrodite, Helen of Troy, Cleopatra, and Nefertiti-She takes her place. Women known for great beauty and seductive nature whom men will throw down kingdoms and fortunes to their very deaths, to stand beside.

It would seem to some that She of H.R.Haggard is considered the template for further lost world sub-genre. It may be so, although I would argue that it was a new template using an ancient trope.

What's interesting about She is that there are mountains of exposition from one central character, Ayesha, that not only tell the story of her long life but give insight into her philosophy and her ideals about religion. Not only do her arguments twist and sway the narrator but he is also enthralled by her beauty and presence and has perhaps lost a portion of his ability to argue rationally.

The narrator Holly is not a handsome man. He in fact is liken to a Baboon. But the orphan whom he has raised from childhood, Leo, perhaps has a handsomeness that could almost rival the beauty of She.

Of course this wouldn't be a story without the back-story of the family line of Leo. A back-story that may fatefully link Leo to Ayesha.

The story is written in that high and almost florid manner of it's time and might weigh heavy on the readers of this age but I think it still stands well through time with a multilevel examination of several moral and ethical dilemma. Though it often seems that the narrator goes purple the writing is strong and indicative of the writing of the time and the story does not suffer.


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